My Favorite Things – Tony Bennett

My Favorite Things

Tony Bennett

Just in time for the holidays, Billboard has solved one long-standing puzzlement: why is “My Favorite Things,” composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for The Sound of Music, considered a Christmas song?

The tune was first heard in the Broadway production, which opened on Nov. 16, 1959. Although it wasn’t written as a holiday song, there were lyrical references to sleigh bells, snowflakes, silver-white winters and brown paper packages tied up with strings.

The first time “My Favorite Things” became associated with Christmas was in 1961, when Julie Andrews performed the song on a Garry Moore TV holiday special – long before she starred in the movie version of The Sound of Music, which was filmed in 1964 and released in April 1965.

 The song is a holiday favorite: “This is the season of good tidings and blessings. Recalling one’s favorite things seems to make it the perfect song for this season. Brown paper packages tied up with string? 

But Andrews’ appearance on Moore’s special didn’t cement the song’s reputation as a Christmas favorite. The song wasn’t released on a holiday album until 1964, when it was featured on The Jack Jones Christmas Album. So why was Jones the first artist to include “My Favorite Things” on a holiday LP?

Jones had already recorded several albums for the independent Kapp label, founded by Dave Kapp, who produced most of Jones’ work. The Christmas LP was produced by Kapp’s son, Mickey Kapp. Lou Simon, senior director, music programming of SiriusXM, once asked Mickey how the song ended up on Jones’ holiday set. “He told me that a song plugger from Williamson Music [the music publishing division of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization] approached him in 1964 with a request. He asked Mickey if he would record one of the songs from the score of The Sound of Music with a Kapp artist because a movie version was coming out in the spring, and there wasn’t a hit song from the show – they wanted something that would be as big as ‘Maria’ from West Side Story. The plugger said they were worried because this was such a big-budget movie, and they thought having a hit song would help sell tickets.”

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